MTG: Building a Budget Deck for a Beginner!

Hello everyone and welcome once again…

…this time around for a very special Magic Decks article! I have the pleasure of playing the “Magic Mentor” for a new friend  of mine, Aeronne (or just “Aero” or even just “Ae”) from the distant Philippines, whom I met as a highly talented, communicative and enthusiastic as well as committed artist/illustrator for an upcoming, anime-style card game of mine going by the name of

Albensang cropped

(More on that game in an imminent, separate blog post).

So Ae asked me, a 16-years Magic: the Gathering veteran, to give him some insider tips and some advice on how to get started. He wanted to just purchase one of the nice and quite decent pre-built Intro Packs, but I had a better idea and said “How much of a budget do you have?”. I told Ae I could assemble him a decklist on a very tight budget that could beat the shit out of his cousin who had introduced him to the game. Upon being asked what color would be the best and easiest to get into the game, my answer was Green. I do think by any means that green is the color of choice for a bloody beginner like Ae and ironically, most beginners without expert advice from an “insider” like my humble self build green decks cause there are tons of Fatties in that color. Sadly, most don’t realize you need some massive “mana ramp” to make a Fatty deck work at all. So yeah, Ae trusted me and after agreeing on a budget of 20 – 25 USD, I proposed to build him a monogreen beatdown deck. In this article, which I write partly for Ae to read and understand the strategy involved, I will be putting myself to the challenge of building a (more than?) decent beginner’s deck on a budget of 25 USD at max (we will be taking the average card costs from just to clarify) . And man do I love a deckbuilding challenge like this. Oh and by the way, I will be building the deck Modern legal so Ae can participate in Modern Format events/tournaments with his deck!

So Ae, pay close attention as here follows the deck and strategic thoughts on the same!

So what I would propose to Ae as his very first magic deck would be something more special than just grabbing any of the many preconstructed decks. It will be customized and tuned to the max, within the boundaries of our 20 – 25 USD budget. So a monogreen beatdown deck it will be. One actually, that I play myself almost exactly like that, without the inclusion of any Rares or Mythic Rares. However it has some quite expensive Uncommons like Rancor, which I’d like to skip in favor of some cheap Rares I think.

So the most common mistake a beginner without any guidance or plan makes when building a Fatty Deck (a deck that is that is packed to the brim with high-cost, high-power creatures, mostly in green) is that they forget about ways to get them out fast – mana ramp/acceleration. For Ae’s first deck, I would not go for Fatties at all but rather for some mid-range, cost-effective Creatures like this awesome Beast  here…

…combined with lots of “Mana Elves”, Creatures that cost 1 green mana and can be tapped for one green mana, like…

….and their identical, more classic counterparts:

So the basic plan would be to drop one of your 8 Mana Elves on turn 1 and then be able to Summon something nasty and/or big as soon as turn 3, such as the above shown Leatherback Baloth. For the two mana slots there are amazing, I might even say insane Common cards available such as…

…as well as Kalonian Tusker. I mean come on… a 3/2 Trampler for just 2 Mana. How sick is that?? 😀

Also we have some very powerful Creature pumper Commons available such as the classic…

…or the basically free to cast Mutagenic Growth. This on the other hand would be the killer Spell in the deck:

What is more, I really like this rather new type of Instant or Sorcery that lets two Creatures fight outside of Combat, virtually giving green some sort of Anti-Creature direct damage, so I would like to include four copies of…

And lastly, I can hardly believe it, but look at awesometastic Troll Ascetic and guess how much a copy is nowadays:

So you see what kind of kickass package you get for only 3 Mana. And the cost in dollars must be a joke: You’d get a playset of four of these multi-talented trolls for two f’ing bucks (USD) if the prices on are accurate!! Simply unbelievable…

So let me wrap this up for you into a decklist and let’s see if it is within the predefined budget!

Ae’s Monogreen Beatdown:

Prices for playsets of four in brackets!


4 x Elvish Mystic G (1 USD)

4 x Llanowar Elves G (0,80 USD)

4 x Kalonian Tusker GG (0,70 USD)

4 x Garruk’s Companion GG (0,80 USD)

4 x Leatherback Baloth GGG (4 USD)

4 x Troll Ascetic 1GG (2 USD)


4 x Giant Growth G (0,60 USD)

4 x Mutagenic Growth G (3,60 USD)


4 x Prey Upon G (0,80 USD)

2 x Overrun 2GGG (0,40 USD)


22 x Forest (next to nothing….)

Total Cost for all this shit: $14.7 USD!

Well done Andi, you just saved lucky Ae a little more than 10 US-dollars off of his Magic Deck budget!

Mind you guys, I am playing a very similar deck just without ANY Rare cards but some semi-expensive Uncommons like the previously mentioned Rancor and it can very well compete against a wide range of (not only) Modern Format decks, just because of its sheer, raw power and speed in quickly overwhelming your opponent with cost-efficient mid-range Creatures powered out by means of Mana Elves.

Just remember the basic plan Ae, try to get out a Mana Elf (either Llanowar or Mystic) on turn one to drop a mighty Leatherback Baloth or a very-hard-to-kill Troll Ascetic out on turn 3. Get blockers and other nasty/pesky Creatures out of the way by killing them off directly with Prey Upon, boost your unblocked Creatures with Giant Growth and Mutagenic Growth (the latter can be cast for no mana at all, just by paying 2 puny life points) and as soon as you have a large army of cheap but efficient beaters, swing in for the kill with a well-timed Overrun, giving ALL of your Creatures +3/+3 and Trample for one turn. In many cases, it will be your opponent’s last turn. So please go ahead and buy the cards together if you like my beginner budget deck suggestion, show your cousin who’s the boss and kick some ass elsewhere, maybe in a Modern Tournament, with this cheap-as-hell yet highly powerful almost all Common/Uncommon deck. The roughly 15 bucks will be worth it, trust me.

Thanks to you Ae for giving me the opportunity to let me suggest a list for your very first deck and for allowing me to lecture you on the ways of MtG and thank you to all other readers. I really hope this was helpful for you, Ae!

So, Ae my friend and all others:

Happy gaming!




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